Dealing With a Cinch Sensitive (Cinchy) Horse. If you've been around horses long enough, you've probably run across a horse that gets virtually irate when the girth or cinch is being tightened. Some will attempt to savagely bite or strike out with their front legs. Others have been known to kick and even rear. If you don't have someone like a groom to help you with a horse like this, it can make properly tightening the girth almost impossible. This kind of horse is known as being "Cinchy," "Cinchbound," or "Girthy," meaning he is overly sensitive to the cinch or girth.
What Makes Horses Cinchy?
There are a number of issues that can make a horse, "Cinchy." If the horse has behaved normally when being cinched and suddenly gets wildly annoyed, this could be indicative of a pain problem. Discuss the problem with your veterinarian. He or she may recommend treatment or refer you to an equine chiropractor or acupuncturist. In some cases, consistent therapy can work wonders.
If the problem is not due to an underlying pain issue, it could be due to an ill fitting girth or saddle, or someone cinching the girth too tightly too quickly. Virtually all horses "blow," meaning they fill their gut with air right before the cinch is tightened to try to escape having their cinch correctly tightened. Educated riders know to double check their girths immediately before mounting as well as after they've been walking around a while, so as to gradually tighten the girth. A loose girth can be extremely dangerous, so, attention to this matter is extremely important. However, trying to beat the horse at his own game by cinching the girth super tight, too quickly, can prove detrimental as well.
Helping The Cinchy Horse
If you've got a cinchy horse and pain and ill fitting tack have been eliminated as the source of the problem, you may need to gradually retrain the horse. This means spending a great deal of time grooming him around the cinch area, using a soft brush. Praise and pet him as he allows you to touch this area, you are using positive reinforcement to build his tolerance for pressure in this area. Next, when you are saddling him up and it's time to tighten the girth, talk to him as the girth is gradually tightened, again petting and praising him as he accepts more and more pressure. Continue brushing and babying him between gradual cinch tightenings, the goal is to remove as much of the associated anxiety by making the event more relaxed. Once the cinch is correctly tightened, leave the saddle on for a bit as you continue petting and grooming the horse. Without riding, undo the cinch and remove the saddle. Then, with his halter on, take him out to graze.
If you repeat this process a few times, the horse will begin to associate being saddled up with more pleasant things. Once he begins behaving in a more relaxed manner, intersperse being saddled up to be ridden with this procedure. It will take persistence and patience, but, in most cases, this can have a tremendous, positive impact on your horse's demeanor when being tacked up.
*Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
This is so great Morgan - I have a problem with a cinchy horse and I really badly needed this post! I am going to work on Sparks .....Will keep you posted
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